Federal Drug Scheduling

Federal Drug Scheduling

The Federal Drug Scheduling system classifies a wide variety of illegal and legal drugs, controlled substances and chemicals for the purpose of criminal prosecution. Schedule I is considered to have the most dangerous drugs, and Schedule V has the safest. These classifications impact criminal drug cases in Mississippi and across the country. Cases involving Schedule I drugs are much more likely to include stiffer penalties, prison time and hefty fines than cases involving Schedule IV or Schedule V drugs. It’s important to note that with the ever-changing landscape of medical developments, many medical professionals are calling on marijuana to be moved from Schedule I, where drugs are considered to have no currently accepted medical uses, to Schedule II. Listed below are Federal Drug Schedules I-V and their associated drugs, chemicals, plants, medications and controlled substances.


Schedule I

Schedule I drugs are typically defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical uses coupled with the high potential for abuse. Somewhat controversially, marijuana is still listed as a Schedule I drug, even though it has been legalized for medical and recreation in other states. In most cases, these are considered the most dangerous types of drugs. They might have psychological impacts and a high likelihood of dependence or abuse. Schedule I drugs are considered the worst of the worst.

Examples of Schedule I Drugs

  • Heroin
  • Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
  • Marijuana (cannabis)
  • 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy)
  • Methaqualone
  • Peyote

Schedule II

While Schedule II drugs are still considered dangerous, they’re not considered to be as bad as Schedule I drugs. They might have moderate to low psychological or physical impacts and a moderate potential for abuse and dependence. Even though they’re not considered by the Federal government to be as dangerous as Schedule I drugs, possession, distribution or manufacturing of any of these drugs can get you locked up for years or decades, depending on the amount involved.

Examples of Schedule II Drugs

  • Vicodin
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Methadone
  • Hydromorphone (dilaudid)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin)
  • Fentanyl
  • Dexedrine
  • Adderall
  • Ritalin

Schedule III

If you’re noticing a trend, it’s because the higher you go on the Federal Drug Schedule scale, the lower the dangers are associated with each class of drugs. Schedule III drugs are considered less dangerous than Schedule II drugs. These drugs are often used in a variety of legal medical settings, but do have some potential for abuse and dependence, so they’re classified as Schedule III drugs. The drugs listed below are considered more dangerous with a higher potential for abuse and dependence than Schedule IV though.

Examples of Schedule III Drugs

  • Tylenol with codeine
  • Ketamine
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Testosterone

Schedule IV

Most of the drugs in Schedule IV are pain killers, muscle relaxants and sleep aids. They do have a potential for dependence and abuse, but it is not as great as the potential for drugs in Schedules I, II and III. These are the drugs we typically see involved in ‘pill mills.’ Also, it’s not uncommon for somebody to recover from an injury or some other medical issue only to find themselves dependent on the post-treatment legally prescribed medications.

Examples of Schedule IV Drugs

  • Xanax
  • Soma
  • Darvon
  • Darvocet
  • Valium
  • Ativan
  • Talwin
  • Ambient
  • Tramadol

Schedule V

Schedule V is reserved for the mildest of all controlled substances, drugs and chemicals. These drugs have the lowest potential danger for dependence and abuse. It’s important to note that many of them still have some level of narcotics so there is some risk involved. Most of these are also very widely used over-the-counter medications.

Examples of Schedule V Drugs

  • Robitussin AC
  • Lomotil
  • Motofen
  • Lyrica
  • Parepectolin

Drug Charges in Jackson

No matter what kind of drug charges you’re facing, you need to speak with a criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible after your arrest. Even relatively small amounts of Schedule I and Schedule II drugs can land you behind bars for an extended period of time. Cases involving less serious drugs can also get you in trouble, depending upon the amount and charges associated with the case. While marijuana may be legal in a number of states for medical and recreational use, it’s still considered a Schedule I drug, so if you’re arrested on marijuana charges, contact an attorney immediately.

If you or somebody you love are facing drug charges in or around the Jackson Metro Area, contact the proven legal team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (601) 265-7766 for an immediate case consultation.


  • $144 Million Death and punitive damages
  • $120 Million Injuries from dangerous drugs
  • $20.4 Million Fraud settlement that went to Mississippians
  • $2.3 Million Brain injury settlement
  • $2.1 Million Civil rights death
  • $1.6 Million Fraud settlement for Mississippians

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